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Harry Goldson: What’s New

Big band buffs may recall Harry Goldson: he played reeds for Claude Thornhill, Randy Brooks and Teddy Phillips, among others. When the bands began to disappear, Goldson made a lucrative defection to the world of high finance. Forty years later, in 1991, he dusted off his embouchure and began day-trading eights once again.

Here sensitive sidemen and good arrangers surround him. In a way, the latter are too good: everything has been over-arranged. So much fussiness, so much ensemble clutter, so many key changes, they tend to impede the flow of the swing. The most successful is Gordon Brisker’s chart on “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”: ingenious voicing for clarinetist Goldson, vibist Jim Cooper and guitarist John Pisano over a Latin pulse.

While Goldson’s clarinet is pleasant, what ignites the date are all four octaves of singer Jeanne Pisano, as on her mile-high scat on “Isn’t it Romantic” and her wordless approach to “Prelude to a Kiss,” reminiscent of Adelaide Hall and Kay Davis with early Duke.

Originally Published